In North America, road racing is motor racing held on a paved closed circuit with both left and right turns. Road racing is therefore distinct from both off-road racing and oval track racing; the latter is common in North America and involves turning in only one direction (usually left, counter-clockwise).
Road racing may be on purpose-built race tracks (called road courses) or on temporary circuits, such as closed-off airport runways and public roads, typically street circuits. A "roval" is a road course incorporating parts of an oval track and its infield, such as is used for the 24 Hours of Daytona at Daytona International Speedway.
In British English, the term is usually used for short circuit events held at purpose-built facilities typically of one to three miles in length, often with scenic, landscaped surroundings resembling parkland. Many older facilities were based on disused former-airfields after WWII and have fallen into disrepair and been re-purposed and built-over, and, although some have endured for closed-to-club and British national events, only Silverstone, having benefitted from a massive redevelopment, is of international standard.
Some officially-sanctioned races are held on public roads (street circuits), that are closed for the duration of the event. This form of racing was banned in Great Britain in 1925 due to a spectator accident at the Kop Hill Climb, Buckinghamshire.
The 37 mile lap of the Isle of Man TT motorcycle races is probably the best known of these, together with the similar Manx Grand Prix, a 'learning stage' for the TT races, both held on the Snaefell Mountain Course, and the much-shorter Southern 100 event held on country roads in the Isle of Man.
In 2004 at the Isle of Man TT races Costello achieved a Guinness World Record by becoming the fastest woman to lap the Snaefell mountain course at an average speed of 114.73 mph. She also finished 8th in the Senior race of the Manx Grand Prix (collecting a Silver replica award) in a field of more than 80 competitors.
The North West 200 and Ulster Grand Prix races are popular and well-attended in Northern Ireland. As the Isle of Man (an autonomous British Crown Protectorate) and Northern Ireland are not part of Great Britain (Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom), the ban does not apply. Sometimes the term "real road racing" is used to distinguish this form of racing from that which takes place on purpose-built paved circuits.